Four Seas gobbles up snack competitors

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 April, 1996, 12:00am

FOUR Seas Mercantile Holdings imports and distributes snack foods, confectionery and beverages. It also invests in property.

Brokerage New China Hong Kong Research has recommended the stock as a long-term buy, saying it remains the leader in the local snack food market.

Four Seas has easily outperformed the retail market this year, recording a solid 10.4 per cent growth in first-half sales despite the slow pace of the overall economy.

It has now captured 70 per cent of the local Japanese snack food market and has a well established relationship with its Japanese suppliers.

Four Seas is also capitalising on China's rising living standards by expanding its mainland business. It now has more than 400 distributors in the mainland.

China sales account for 28 per cent of the company's total sales and this is expected to grow another 25 per cent to $230 million in the 1996 financial year.

Four Seas has also sought to diversify its product range by acquiring local egg roll and mooncake maker Hong Kong Biscuit, and European food distributor J. P. Inglis & Sons.

Net profit for 1996 is forecast to rise 17 per cent to $47.8 million, and should jump another 20 per cent in the 1997 financial year.